UPDATE: New Mexico school board suspended during clash on COVID-19 policy

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ROOSEVELT COUNTY, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – All five members of a New Mexico school board have been suspended by the state’s Public Education Department (PED), and a superintendent the board put on leave reinstated, as a clash on COVID-19 policies has continued to unfold ahead of the school year.

The Floyd Municipal School District’s school board voted twice to go against the PED’s COVID-19 recommendations to wear masks for the upcoming school year, despite cases of the delta variant on the rise across the country. The board voted to not require masks or social distancing, temperature checks or air filtering, and made testing for COVID-19 optional for staff.

PED Secretary Dr. Ryan Stewart said that the board’s actions “extremely troubling” and promised consequences if the vote was not changed by noon, Aug. 3. After no change was made on Tuesday, those consequences included the immediate suspension of school board members.

The school board said their local district should be led by those who actually live in the community, not from Santa Fe. In 2008, the state voted to have a PED oversee the education system in the state and school districts would have to follow their guidelines.

The statement made in the wake of the suspensions, according to the New Mexico PED:

“The Public Education Department today suspended the five-member Floyd Municipal Schools board after the board twice voted to disregard COVID Safe Practices. Following suspension of the board, Secretary Ryan Stewart reinstated Superintendent Damon Terry, whom the board had placed on administrative leave because he refused to carry out its wishes.”

Students in Floyd go back to school on Monday, Aug. 9.

This story is ongoing. Check back with MyHighPlains.com for updates.

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